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5 Ways The Sharing Economy Changed Your Life

Have you ever rented someone’s apartment in the summer? Taken an Uber home on a Saturday night? Maybe washed someone’s car or mowed someone’s front lawn?

Technology has made sharing and selling so simple. It has never been easier to take part in the sharing economy. Networking technologies like social media, apps or forums allow any type of transaction possible.

Do you know what the sharing economy is? It is as simple as renting a holiday house from someone. If you have rented an asset owned by another person, the sharing economy has entered your life.

Through this culture shift, giants like:

  • Airbnb allows you to rent property from a stranger.
  • Airtasker lets you complete stranger’s chores for money.
  • eBay lets you buy and sell second-hand goods.
  • Uber orders a person to pick you up from the location of your choice.

Will you get in a strangers car?

Are you a frequent Uber user? Car sharing platforms have flipped the taxi industry on its head. People have jumped into their cars and become their own taxi service. The sharing economy is taking the power away from the big businesses. People are using their assets to help other people for money. This is the sharing economy in full force.

Technology on demand

Uber Driver

Skills to pay the bills

Do you have skills that are being wasted? Do you love mowing the lawn or planting flowers but have no garden? Airtasker allows people to complete day to day tasks for anyone. Whether it’s teaching, fixing, building or digging, your skills are required. If you have a unique skillset, Airtasker will give you the opportunity to use it.

Different skills to achieve success

Skills to pay the bills

Shelter

Would you like to be a local everywhere you go? If you plan a beach holiday or travel through countries, you need a roof over your head. The streets are not always so kind. Airbnb and Couchsurfing give you that feeling of living like a local. You can rent apartments or sleep on strangers’ couches to have that authentic, interesting experience.

Welcome you to the world of tech

Home away from home

Pet Sitting

Do you love pets but cannot afford or do not have space/time to look after one? Now you can with Mad Paws. This is obvious for every parent, you need to feel safe with your babysitter. But what happens when you go on holiday without your pet? I see my dog as a family member and Mad Paws gives me the security knowing that my dog is safe. That a stranger will open their home for my dog.

We will guide you to app success

How simple life can be

Foodies

What does an authentic Italian pasta taste like? What about a delicious Indian butter chicken? Do you love local cuisines but don’t have time to travel? Chefly is about people cooking local delicacies for strangers to buy. This is a perfect example of people sharing their skillset with one another.

We develop all our designs in house

Nothing like a home cooked meal

 

Before technology became such a powerful force, the concept of a sharing economy seemed impossible. With such efficient networking technologies, the options are endless. These days if you feel like, need or want anything, an option is not far away.

 

If you are thinking of creating a sharing economy app, whether it’s for travel, food or leisure, get in touch with Launchpad for a free quote.

 

Are you curious to find out what will make your life more productive? Have a look at our blog to find productivity hacks.

Thinking about starting a startup?

Or maybe you’re looking to work for a startup?

 

In both cases, you may be wondering what that means. A startup is a newly established business. Starting from scratch and building their way up.

Startups provide a different culture and experience to a traditional job. It’s exciting, it’s different and it’s rapidly changing.

However, there may be some obstacles along the way. From our startup to yours. Here are some tips we found.

Cover Image Source: tagove.com

No Market Need

Image Source: linkedin.com

 

What do all successful startups have in common?

 

Their product or service solves a consumer problem or fills a consumer need.

 

So you have to ask yourself, what problem does my startup solve?

Really, what need does it fill?

 

This can’t be you convincing yourself it does this thing for a certain person. Your assumption could be a problem for your company.

 

So how do you fix that?

 

Do your research, go out there and survey people. Find out if this is something that they would be interested in. Something they would use. It doesn’t have to be stopping people on the street. It can be asking friends and family. Or creating online surveys and polls.

 

Get out of the building and test your assumption!

Financial Problems

Image Source: ginsberg-gingras.com

 

You might be rolling your eyes at this one. Obviously, this is a common reason why startup companies fail. If a company runs out of cash, they are done. Thanks, Captain Obvious!

 

But let’s look at why companies run out of cash?

 

Bad planning is often the biggest reason. Because of not accurately estimating your company runway. Runway being your current cash position divided by your monthly cash burn.

 

Or your burn rate has increased due to reckless spending. Both for the business and outside of it.  Yes, you’ve worked hard, but your trip to Las Vegas might have to go on hold.

 

Many companies are underfunded.  This may be because they didn’t receive financial assistance. So get out there and make your pitch to everyone that will listen!

Competition

Image Source: lawtechnologytoday.org

 

Creating something that someone else is making?

 

Or maybe you’re not first to market?

 

You are going to get competition. Competition is always hard. It means you’re likely going to have to spend more money.

 

Especially if they are a bigger or more established company. These companies may have bigger budgets to throw at their research and development.

 

Bigger budgets for customer service and marketing. And likely a brand name that people know, or have bought from. That means they are more likely to buy from them again.

 

To compete you have to make sure your product quality remains high. Selling a cheap product to undercut prices, may turn off customers. Word gets around through the internet. Because today, online reviews are a standard.

 

So don’t ruin your idea!

 

Sell them on your idea, sell them on your vision.

 

Align your wants and needs to the customers. Sell them on the journey.

 

If a customer feels as if this product aligns with them, they are more likely to buy it. Or they may see the journey you have been through, with the hard work. That might make them buy from you.

Pricing issues

Image Source: elegantthemes.com

 

Choosing the price to sell your product is tough. If you set the price too high, it won’t be affordable to some. Set the price too low and you might not make enough revenue.

 

If the price is set too high it might be seen as a premium product. If it’s set too low it might be seen as cheap.

 

It seems like you can’t win!

 

The only way you’ll know is with research. See what the competitors charge for their similar product. Survey and talk to your prospective consumers. See what they would be willing to pay for your product.

 

Pricing can change over time too. Price it low at the start, if it’s popular or successful, raise the price. If the product is not doing well, lower the price.

Poor Product

Image Source: pinterest.com

 

The product idea might be brilliant. It could be the next Facebook. But that won’t matter if the app isn’t properly bug tested. Bugs in apps frustrate and annoy users.

 

Some bugs users can put up with.

 

But bugs that close or make the app not usable will make users uninstall it. Make sure to properly bug test the app. If hiring the bug testers is too expensive, send out a beta version of the app. Incentivise beta users to give feedback on the problems they are finding.

 

Another reason it could be a poor product is that it was just poorly designed. Again, it could be the best idea, but if it doesn’t make sense to use, it won’t succeed.

 

Make sure the app flows. Make sure that the app makes logical sense.

Where is everyone?

Image Source: metro.co.uk

 

Imagine you’ve made your product or app. But you haven’t gone any further than just making it.

You’ve just thought “build it and they will come”. But they won’t always come. It might be the perfect app, but if no one knows, it likely won’t take off.

 

The app needs to be marketed. Create awareness for your product!

 

You’ve worked so hard on it, so don’t skip the marketing.

 

Be creative with your marketing, try something new like viral or guerrilla campaigns.

 

Doing something that will help you stand out from the crowd.

Lack of passion

Image Source: dailymail.co.uk

 

If you’re doing this for money, it’s going to be rough. I mean, starting a startup is usually rough anyway. It’s a lot of work. But you do it because you believe in the idea. You are passionate about your product or app.

 

You want to make the best product you can because it’s yours.

 

But if you are you here for the money, there isn’t that drive. There isn’t that passion. I’m not saying it’s impossible because it isn’t.

 

Many people have done it. Many will create a product or service just to make a profit. But they won’t have the same experience as someone creating for passion.

 

These are the reasons we found were most prevalent when start-ups fail.

 

There are much more, these are just a generalisation. But still, I hope you take this advice and go and start your start-up!

 

Like I said, it’s weird, it’s stressful, it’s a lot of work. However, it’s going to feel less like work, as it’s not your standard job.

 

So if you’d like to take your first step, contact the Launchpad quote page. We at Launchpad specialise in creating apps for small start-up companies. Let us take this journey with you!

 

Have you heard of Design Thinking? It’s consumer-centric design process. Curious about it and how it can be applied to your business?

 

Please read our blog, here.

 

Before you start your tech startup

Cover Image Source: pinterest.com

So you’ve got your million dollar idea, you’re calling up app developers. In your head, you’re hiring your friends and planning your end of year business trip to Europe. Next thing you know you’re driving your supercar to your multi-million dollar house.

But let’s step on the brakes there.

What do we need to do before you get to this point?

You’re going to need a business model. I’m sorry, it doesn’t sound as exciting as all the stuff I mentioned before. But how else are you going to get there?

A business plan is essential to the success of any business.

Plan the plan

Image Source: dlplanningguide.com

What does that even mean?

Well, you can’t just make the plan and hope for the best!

Who is this plan for? Does it have more than one purpose? Is it for internal use or is it for others to see? If a third party is seeing this, what do you have to achieve from them reading it?

Plan to write your summary last, because you have to keep it on message, keep it concise. You want to make sure there isn’t anything you’ve missed.

As if you write the summary first, you may add something or change something further in the plan.

The summary is going to be for anyone who is going to read this, investors, partners and developers. The summaries purpose is to get them on board with the idea before they read anymore.

Research

Image Source: myelin.org

Do your research. Just do it. Nike.

No, unrelated, my bad. Doing the research, however, isn’t unrelated. You’re going to need to make some very serious decisions in your business, all of which must be backed by your research.

Here are some topics you MUST research. There are a few things you don’t have to do, unfortunately, this isn’t of-of them.

Researching your Potential Customer

Competitor Analysis

Competitive Intelligence

Industry Data

This is just a selection, want to know how you’ll find more? Random guesses.

Wait, no, it’s research. More research.

Business Design

Image Source: workitdaily.com

Branding – Your Core Story

Who is this app for?

What are this apps Unique Selling Point?

What’s the pricing structure?

What is your business structure?

Are you going to have a casual Friday?

Serious stuff! Really. Company culture is important, cultivate it.

It’s a lot of questions, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately. If building a successful business was easy everyone would own one… bottom line it’s not.

Forecasting

Image Source: itserviceanalytics.com

Do your research to create expected figures. Create estimated marketing costs, revenue projections, break-even analysis and profit/loss statements.

Then measure the expected figures to the actual figures, once your startup has taken off.

Don’t do it alone

Image Source: prweb.com

Get some help making your plan, from a friend to a professional. They can all offer something that will help or change your plan.

Professionals like business advisors and accountants. Who offer expertise in an area you may lack. Which is fine, you’ve already come up with a billion dollar idea. Why should you do all the work?

Then, getting your friends and family members to review the business plan. A different set of eyes is very helpful. Having errors in your business plan will detract from a professional image. So having a different person, or multiple people read it, will hopefully find all errors.

Distribute it to everyone, the more people that are happy to review it the better. Unless they take your idea and run with it. Maybe save it for people you trust.

But for everyone else? If you have an idea that you want to be tested out, run surveys, questionnaires and group interviews. Do whatever you have to do in order to validate your idea!

Find out what people want from an app, see if your app idea aligns with their wants and needs. If you don’t have the budget for this, run these polls on social media. Share it in groups that relate to your idea.

Our Recommended Business Plan or Model

Image Source: inc.com

For all entrepreneurs and startups, we recommend a lean canvas business model. Lean canvas business models are a more visual approach, making your information more easy to digest by those reviewing it. Also, it’s called a lean canvas business model because it is a cut-down business model, it’s quicker and easier to create and allows you to quickly adapt. Build-Measure-Learn.

 

Business Plans are dinosaurs used by corporations with unlimited money. Business Models are used by the movers and shakers.

 

All it requires is 9 sections, that we will go through.

Lean Canvas Business Model

 

  • Problem

 

Here you will list your top few problems and how these problems are currently being solved, if possible.

 

  • Customer Segments

This section is where a good chunk of your research to go. Here you list your target customers and their characteristics.

 

  • Unique Value Proposition

Essentially your elevator pitch. A message that turns someone unaware of your app into a prospect. Make sure to make this compelling, clear and concise.

 

  • Solution

For the solution, list all the solutions to your problems, that aren’t being solved already.

 

  • Channels

What are the ways customers will find your product, and from there go to buy/download it?

 

  • Revenue Streams

Where are you going to make money? If we’re talking about an app, is it going to have an upfront cost? Or will it have in-app purchases or advertising? Could be a combination or any or all of those.

 

  • Cost Structure

What are your fixed and variable costs? Fixed costs are things like office rent and computers. But variable costs are things like server hosting, when your downloads and user base increase, likely your server costs will too.

 

  • Key Metrics

What are the ways you’ll be able to show how your business is doing? For an app startup, you would look at downloads, in-app purchases and daily active users.

 

  • Unfair Advantage

What do you have that no one else does? This thing can’t be done by anyone else easily. It’s left until last as it’s the best selling point if you’re trying to get investors onboard.

Get Started!

Image Source: businesssold.com.au

 

A lean canvas business plan shouldn’t take that long, however, it may make or break the success of your app. But it is too valuable and essential to not do.

Even if you think you don’t have enough knowledge now, business plans can be updated. So evolve the business plan as you and your business does.

Have you created a business plan? Maybe you’ve found something you’ve missed. Or maybe you’ve found something I’ve missed. If so, let me know in the comments section below!

So what are you wait for, let’s get started before that house goes!

If you have an app idea you wish to get off the ground, see our quote page for more information!

 

Have you heard of the Internet of Things? It’s the way all of our smart devices can, or will connect up to each other. If you’re curious, read more, here.

 

What is practical design?

Is your app designed for practicality?

Cover Image Source: material.io

As a kid, I remember being so excited to use my new Gameboy. Going to the shops, bringing it home and opening it up.

But then hit with the worst realisation. I have to wait for it to charge.

Charging always took forever. It probably felt like forever, because I sat there staring at it.

Image Source: amazon.com – Not exactly practical.

But nowadays, everything you buy comes charged. Its usable straight out of the box.

That is practical design.

Design for usability. If you’re here you may be looking at getting an app made.

Designing it practically should be front of mind when you design it.

Examples;

Confused? Let me show you a few examples of practical design.

Image Source: uber.com

Take Uber for example. The taxi industry wasn’t a great one. But if you’ve ever caught a taxi, you’ll know that. It didn’t hold the drivers accountable. The drivers could be late, or not show up. They didn’t have to keep their actions in check.

Until Uber came around. Uber (for those living underground) is a ride sharing app. It allows everyone to be a taxi driver. Uber holds the driver AND rider accountable, by reviewing each other.

It’s designed for usability, for both parties.

Image Source: play.google.com

How about Netflix. Netflix is a video streaming service.

Netflix realised the time of gathering around the TV at 7.30 to watch your favourite show was over. It’s impractical, no one has time for that. The ability to watch what you want, whenever you want. No waiting week by week for the next episode. It’s just there, ready for you. It’s obviously working as Netflix has more US subscribers than Cable TV.

Netflix was designed for usability.

Some designs to avoid:

Image Source: bresslergroup.com – If it needs an assistant to be used, it’s not practical.

Image Source: au.pinterest.com – I think I’ll take the stairs. Make it obvious.

Design Thinking

If you haven’t already read it, we have a blog on design thinking, here. But just briefly, Design Thinking is consumer-centric design. Designing with the customer in mind.

To do so, companies put themselves in the consumer’s shoes. They run experiments and surveys to see how consumers react.

Image Source: struber.com.au

There are many tools you can really use to know your consumer. Like user personas and customer journeys. A user persona digs into how the average user of your product or service behaves like.

A customer journey is a journey your consumer goes through to get your product. We have a blog describing them and other design service tools, here. If you follow design thinking, it’ll be easier to design your app for usability.

Practical Design and Apps

Practicality has been thought of in every screen of the app. It has to be thought of in how the app is used, how it flows.

If the app doesn’t make sense, you’ll likely lose users.

Points to consider for the design:

Keep the design consistent

  • Changing the design from screen to screen will likely confuse a user. This could lead to them not wanting to use your app!

Make sure your screens are uncluttered

  • Cluttered screens are bad for your app for a few reasons. A cluttered screen is hard to use. Buttons should be big and obvious. Easy to find and press. If you have to use the corner of your fingernail to press something, you should reconsider your design.
  • Not only that, but a cluttered screen is just unpleasant to look at! You should learn about ‘Whitespace’. Whitespace is required as it offers visual breathing room to your designs.

Make sure the app flows well

  • When designing the apps’ user interface, consider their experience. What makes sense? If you were designing a game, would you open the app straight into the game? Probably not. A user would want a menu and some options.
  • How does the user think something should work?

Choose the right colour scheme for your app

  • Make sure the text is readable! Putting fluro yellow text on a white background is very hard to read. Actually, just don’t use fluro yellow at all. Or maybe any fluro colours.
  • Also generally, don’t use an image as your background. It makes text that is over it hard to read.

I know it’s just scraping the surface of practical design for apps. But it’s just for readability. Going into detail about app practical design may be a little boring. Or not, it might be a future blog. Who knows!

If you have any questions about practical design, feel free to ask in the comments. Or maybe there is a design you really like, let us know!

Have you been curious about getting an app made? Visit the Launchpad Quote page, let us help you make the app you’ve had stuck in your head!

Have you experienced Virtual Reality? If you’re unsure as to what it is, we have a blog, here!

The reason your app isn’t clicking with its audience. Try this creative design method today!

How you can think like a modern designer, with design thinking. It may just change your app!

Designing that will build customer loyalty and advocacy. Design thinking invented by pioneer and CEO of IDEO, Tim Brown.

I’m sure you’re eager to find out how design thinking works.

Let me first explain what is design.

Cover Image Source: Pocket Design

What is Design?

Design is the creation process for an outcome. Whether it will be functional like a plan, or visual, like a picture.

 

The design process is definitely daunting, it can seem like a big task. By breaking it into smaller steps, makes the outcome seem reachable.

 

Working in steps helps your team remain on the same page. This gives the designers comfort in knowing the design is thought out and preferred. These steps are part of the design thinking process.

The Design Steps

 

The steps for the design process being:

  1.       Defining the problem – What exactly are you trying to create? Is it a plan? A picture?
  2.       Collecting information about the problem – What do you need to know before you can begin?
  3.       Brainstorming and analysing ideas – What are some ideas you have had for this design?
  4.       Developing solutions – Grow these ideas, give them detail.
  5.       Getting feedback on ideas – Have colleagues and friends validate these ideas.
  6.       Improving the ideas, from the feedback – If they gave you feedback, can you use it to improve the design.
  7.       Re-defining the problem/starting over – From this do you have a completed design? Can it be improved or do you have to start over?

    Image Source: Discover Design

 

What is Design Thinking?

 

Design thinking is similar, but its customer centric. Which is designing from the customer perspective. A designer must make sure it aligns with what the customer wants and needs.

 

Design thinking is also broken into a process:

 

  1.       Empathising with the customer – Thinking from the customer perspective.
  2.       Ideating what the customer would want – Using perspective and research.
  3.       Prototyping the ideas formed – Creating mock-ups of the possible design.
  4.       Creating multiple iterations of the prototype. Do this until you find a standout or preferred model. These mock-ups are great for people to look at, an idea of what you’re trying to create.
  5.       Launching the new design – Release the design into the world.

Image Source: Neilson Norman Group

 

This leads to having customers tell their friends their thoughts on your product. This is incredibly valuable. You trust their endorsements, it’s one of the most trusted forms of advertising. Because they won’t tell you how good something is as they aren’t paid to do so. I’m sure you want that sort of buzz for your app!

 

What should you do now?

You should start today, create an app that understands what the user wants. An app that they will show their friends. Don’t let your idea’s potential go to waste!

Was your app idea created using design thinking?

Because if you haven’t, why not?

If you hadn’t heard of design thinking until reading this blog, start today. Create the tools required to align your design with what your audience wants!

Image Source: Medium

 

Want to find out how to put design thinking into action?

Check out our other blog that dives into the tools used in design thinking. We describe what the tools are, how they’re used and their necessity.

 

Or visit the Launchpad quote page, if you have a brilliant idea for an app. Launchpad want to help you create a unique, successful app.